Saturday, September 24, 2016

Benevolent Dragons and Tolkien.

Tolkien's mythology as he wrote it being very Western had only Evil Dragons.

Contrary to how some may make it sound it's not solely because of The Bible the West tends to view Dragons/Serpents as Evil (in fact there is overlooked Biblical support for good Dragons). It comes also from Ophion, Hydra and Ketos of Greek Mythology, Jormungander and Niohoggr of Norse Mythology, and the Grendles and Dragons of Beowulf.

Eastern Mythology usually has Dragons as Benevolent, though Japan has some evil ones too. Many are Dragon Kings who rule the seas.

Since we readers and writers of Fan Fiction are always interested in expanding and diversifying Tolkien's world, (as detailed as he was he did leave plenty to the imagination). I've contemplated how hypothetically possible it could be to put Benevolent Dragons in Arda.

The origins of the Dragons that served Morgoth are not directly explained, a common theory is the originals were fallen Maia who Morgoth then bred. That Glarung seems to be equal in rank to both Sauron and Gothmog, (both Maia, one a leader of other Maia), suggests to me he's probably also a Maia. Which has me thinking that if an evil Maia could take that form, there is no reason a good Maia couldn't take a similar form.

So perhaps there could be Benevolent Dragons known in the far Eastern lands of Arda, to the East of anything seen on LOTR's maps. Perhaps something like Valoo from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. In one scene Valoo and the Rito pretty much serve the same function as the Eagles.

Someone already wrote one Fan Fiction for that concept.

If you're curious about my Biblical statement. For Starters Jesus used the Brazen Serpent that Moses raised up in the wilderness as a symbol of himself in John 3.   The Hebrew word Seraph is used in that account where it is made a synonym for Nahash (Serpent in Genesis 3), in fact the word "serpent" may come from Seraph ultimately.  Isaiah described Seraphim circling the Throne of Yahuah, leading many to think of the term as a synonym for Cherubim. Also in Job, God speaks of Behemoth and Leviathan as creations he's very proud of.  All these words can also be linked to Satan (except Behemoth), but Satan was one of 5 Cherubim, the other 4 didn't fall.

When comparing Ezekiel's descriptions of the Cherubim with John's in Revelation 4.  It seems like each one is particularly associated with one of the 4 types of animals, yet at the same time they each have traits of each, Eagle's wings, cloven hoofs, human eyes and bodies like lions.  If Satan is the 5th Cherub and the Serpent/Dragon one, then the other 4 could also have some serpentine association.  And it was in this form that Isaiah saw them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The BlackCoatPress website was revamped a couple months ago

So I realized I should provide some new linked to the Tales of The Shadowmen volumes I have stories published in, since the old Links don't work anymore.

I've had Three Published already in Volumes 10, 11 and 12.  So far my story has always been last thanks to my surname.

And it seems likely my new story will be in Volume 13 which comes out this December.

edited by J-M. & R. Lofficier
cover by Michel Borderie

US$23.95/GBP 15.99 - 6x9 tpb, 300 p. - ISBN-13: 978-1-61227-578-9

Jason Scott Aiken: Galazi in the Enchanted City
Matthew Baugh: A Dollar’s Worth of Fists
Adam Mudman Bezecny: Harry’s Homecoming
Nicholas Boving: The Aquila Curse
Nathan Cabaniss: From Paris with Hate
Matthew Dennion: A Purpose in Life
Brian Gallagher: The Berlin Vampire
Martin Gately: Rouletabille Rides the Horror Express
Micah Harris: The Goat of Saint Elster
Travis Hiltz: The Island of Exodus
Paul Hugli: As Easy as 1, 2, 3...
Rick Lai: Eve of Destruction
Nigel Malcolm: Maximum Speed
Christofer Nigro: Bad Alchemy
John Peel: Time to Kill
Frank Schildiner: The Taking of Frankenstein
Sam Shook: Bringer of the Outer Dark
Michel Stéphan: One Summer Night at Holy Cross
David L. Vineyard: The Moon of the White Wolf
Jared Welch: Styrian Rhapsody

Sang Froid, i.e. Cold Blood!

Doctor Ardan meet the People of the Pole! Doctor Omega teams up with Ki-Gor to find the secret of the Yeti! Maigret, Father Brown and Dr. Watson face a terrifying supernatural threat! Felifax ends up on Dr. Moreau's island. Sâr Dubnotal and the Werewolf of Paris fight the vampires! Arsene Lupin duels with Raffles! Captain Vampire defies the Reds! Rouletabille is trapped on the Mysterious Island! Spiridon investigates a vampire murder in Paris! The Phantom of the Opera finds death in Persia! Sherlock Holmes meets Lecoq and Mephista Leonox!

In this thirteenth volume of Tales of the Shadowmen, the only anthology dedicated to international heroes and villains of pulp literature, writers from Canada, England, France and the United States, pay homage to those great champions and master criminals who enchanted our adolescence.
This one again stars Eugenie Danglars and Louise d'Armilly, this time they encounter Carmilla, The Lesbian Vampire.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stephanie Brown and Chuck Dixon's politics

I made a post on this blog where I observed how surprisingly sometimes conservative writers treat women better then male liberal writers, which was a follow up to one of my Paul Feval posts.  This post is essentially me adding one more example to that observation.  Once again, I'm making these observations as a Liberal of sorts, a Left Leaning Libertarian-Communist SJW.

Chuck Dixon is one of the more notorious examples of a rare conservative Comic Book writer, probably the most notorious example of one to write for Batman (calling Frank Miller a conservative is a massive oversimplification).  Rumor has it he used to have heated political arguments with Denny O'Neil, I imagine Gun Control is the only issue where I'd side with Dixon over O'Neil.

Chuck Dixon created my favorite Batman character, who is obviously then also my favorite female Batman character, and second favorite Comic Book character over all.  Stephanie Brown aka The Spoiler, formally known as both Robin and Batgirl.

In addition to creating Stephanie, there are other women he didn't create but who largely became how fans of my generation and a little older remember them mostly in comics Dixon wrote, from Sarah Essen to Helena Bertinelli.  The earliest Bertinelli stories were pretty much writing her the same as the later Helena Wayne stories (they had the same writer I've heard), it was Dixon who made her distinct.  He was also heavily involved in the early success of Birds of Prey before Gail Simone took over and they reached their height.  He also co-wrote Batgirl Year One, which I heard Gail Simone tried to convince DC/WB to make an Animated Movie for.

But I mainly want to talk about Stephanie.  Chuck Dixon wrote the three part story that introduced her in 1992 in Detective Comics, and wrote the Tim Drake Robin title for the first 100 issues, he may have took some months off, I'm not sure, but he was the main writer in charge.  Stephanie never got to be Robin in a story Dixon wrote, but behind the scenes he had been championing her becoming Robin for a long time.  That the very first Robin Comic after Dixon left featured an alternate reality with Steph as Robin is probably still the influence of where Dixon wanted to go.

Steph's pregnancy storyline is possibly the only time Dixon's politics seemed to influence his writing.  The narrative doesn't outright condemn Abortion, but he heavily stresses how Steph was firmly opposed to taking that option.

In general Dixon's Batman writing is considered the best of 90s Batman.  Though it's perhaps not a coincidence that many's main criticism of him is being unwilling to give villains sympathy or depth, which was especially egregious when he wrote Two-Face.

The friendship between Stephanie and Cassandra Cain also started on Dixon's watch.  I wonder what thoughts he'd have on the popularity of shipping them?

Almost immediately after Dixon left, the direction Stephanie's story was going took a sharp turn.  She was finally officially being trained by Batman, then out of the blue he tries forcing her to quit.  Helena and the Birds of Prey were in good hands with Gail Simone, but for Stephanie all her fans feel she was horribly mistreated from now till she got her Batgirl run, then she got screwed over again by Barry Allen.

The War Games storyline (and others connected to it) is one I happen to really like, the premise is one I can't believe it took Batman writers so long to think of, and it's filled with wonderful character moments and a sense of escalating tension that anticipates The Dark Knight.

But the treatment of Stephanie is horrible, it's textbook fridging, and most of my fellow Stephanie fans are incapable of forgiving the story for that. And even during the build up to that story, it seemed DC was obsessed with foreshadowing the idea that Stephanie will be the next Jason Todd.

I wonder how many Stephanie Brown fans who lament Dixon's exit know he's a Conservative?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I saw Captain America Civil War finally

It was entertaining.  But like any versus movie it frustrated me, and it not being as endlessly dark as BvS isn't enough to make this movie based on far inferior source material a superior movie.

Here's what I find funny though.  Age of Ultron had a lot of material dedicated to assuring us there were NO Civilian Casualties, all for the purpose of sticking it to Man of Steel and appealing to that film's haters, and I criticized that aspect of it at the time.  And now they did this storyline which is entirely dependent on there being civilian casualties.  So it's like they are reveling they lied to us before.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Some predictions about upcoming Comic Book adabtations

I'm not claiming to have any inside info, these are just my wild guesses bases on the evidence available to everyone.

The Flash Season 3.

1. I think we'll learn that on Earth-Three where JWS is Jay Garrick, that Dinah Drake, Laurel and Sara's mother from Arrow, is The Black Canary.

2. I think at the end of season 3 Barry Allen will "die", and Wally West will take over as The Flash.  I think WB will want that so while their featuring Ezra Miller's Barry Allen in two movies that will come out during season 4 the TV Flash will be different.  But regardless I think that would be a good move, because that's part of the Comics history of The Flash.  Obviously a door will kept open for Barry to return, perhaps in the 100th Episode in the middle of Season 5.

Wonder Woman

1. The woman with the weird face in the trailer is Paula Van Gunther.

2. Bookend scenes set in the present will revolve around Diana talking to Carol Ferris (Christina Wren), where reference to Hal Jordan disappearing might be made.

Justice League.

1. Superman will return in about the middle of the film, but he'll instantly assume leadership, not unlike in Reign of The Supermen.

2. Green Lantern will show up at the very end, with maybe hints of his existence being made earlier.

3. Deathstroke will be in Justice League, he's who Batman will fight while the Superpowered characters fight aliens form Apokolips.  That's what the footage we saw is from.

4. Enchantress will appear, that's why Bruce also got her file also at the end of Suicide Squad.

5. We'll learn the father of Eisenberg's Luthor is still alive, but probably not see him yet.

Spiderman Homecoming

1. Zendaya is Michelle Gonzalez and/or White Tiger, not Mary Jane.

2. They will wait till he's in Collage to have him meet Gwen or MJ.  What I want to see when we get there is Gwen and MJ being friends.

The Flash movie

Will flop and not get a sequel


Will be a hit and get a sequel


1. The first movie will be a version of Under The Red Hood with Arkham Knight influence.  Harley and Joker will both appear.  Mat Damon will play a villain replacing Black Mask's role, maybe Hush, and he'll hire Deathstroke.

2. Then in the second Justice League movie.  Bruce will be "killed" by the Omega Sanction and the next Batfleck film will be Battle for The Cowl with aspects of Knightfall.

Update: The Official Deathstroke announcement came out right after I posted this.  It kinda doesn't change anything, we know he'll be in Batfleck now, but I hope he's not the main or only villain.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Trade Paperbacks DC needs to do

You'll be surprised how many story-lines DC hasn't done Trade Paperbacks for yet.  I'm going to list some I really want to see.

The Battle of Metropolis/Fall of Metropolis story-line that spanned 9 issues of Superman comics in 94.  It ended the Alexander Luther Jr story-line, and was the next major Superman event after the Death and Return of Superman.

The 3 part story that originally introduced Spoiler/Stephanie Brown from 1992 in Detective Comics.  Throw some other stuff in to elaborate on it, like early Cluemaster stories to explain him, or later Stephanie centric stories from various Secret Files and Origins books, like the one where she sums up her history to her new born child.

Dead Reckoning, a Batman story that was going on in Detective Comics about the same time Hush was in the Batman title.  One that has similarities to it but that some fans liked better.

The Noctruna Arc from the Pre-Crisis 80s Batman Comics, that would probably take more then one Volume.  And then one including the Batman story of Detective Comics 566 and Batman 400, the last Pre-Crisis Batman story.

The New Teen Titans/Tales of the Teen Titans comics that deal with the aftermath of The Judas Contract, issues 45-55.

And I'd like to see a sort of prequel Trade for Bruce Wayne Murderer/Fugitive chronicling his relationships with Vesper Fairshild and Sasha.

I'd also like some Infinity Inc and Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman story-lines from the 80s.

And some Bronze Age Supergirl story-lines.

I could also complain about how many TPBs have left out things they should have included.

I wish the Who is Donna Troy TPB had also included the original Origin of Wonder Girl story from Teen Titans 22 in 1969 which was also written by Marv Wolfman.

Even the new two volume collection of War Games that includes many things the old trades didn't left out Batgirl 54 which is the last time we see Stephanie before the inciting incident.  Also Catwoman 33 and 37 should have been included for the Prologue and Epilogue parts.  And Gotham Central 25 is also an important part of the epilogue.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Amalgam characters in Comic Book Movies

I used to complain when a Comic Book movie would have some character who really combines the roles of two or three or more characters from the Comics long history.  Feeling like it's just lost opportunities.

Thing is, I've been putting more and more thought into how Comic Cook characters to begin with are an amalgamations of older character archetypes.  The Batman was basically a combining of The Shadow and Zorro, with a little bit of Sherlock Holmes and Dick Tracey.  And the visual motif coming from an old Silent Film, The Bat.

In that context, I realize it's another natural part of how mythology develops, and how stories are retold.

People complain about how different Bane is in The Dark Knight Rises.  Thing is that character is also an Amalgam.  He is partly Bane with direct references to Knightfall,  I've also observed aspects of Deathstroke in him.  But in the way TDKR draws on DKR he is very much the Mutant Leader, with Alfred giving a similar speech to Bruce about how he's in his prime and Bruce isn't.  And then Bruce loses but later beats him in the rematch by using his head more.  And it works for the story that TDKR tells.  And also to go outside the Batman universe he's an admitted Vader Clone.

I may edit this post in the future discussing more examples.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Show don't Tell" isn't a universal rule

There are times when many people seem to think it is, or at least in a visual medium like film and animation it is.  I see it in Fanboy-Perspective's defense of Batman V Superman and Clark's lack of dialogue in it.

But there are times when I do feel telling is better then showing. Especially if you're someone who wants less Origin Stories in Superhero movies, what you basically want is to be told not shown.  Likewise if you don't like overuse of Flashbacks, you want to be told not shown.  And I'm annoyed how many fans feel that dead Robin easter egg means some DCEU film HAS to flashback to when that happened, how about we just leave that to the imagination for a change?

If you are the opposite of me on the issue of if movies should be longer or shorter, or if you feel the same.  Sometimes telling is shorter and sometimes showing is shorter, it depends on what you're trying to communicate.

And this also ties into how I'm a big supporter of, especially for horror, the idea that what you don't see is more disturbing then what you do.

But the thing about any medium that has acting as one of it's story telling tools.  Is what you can do by showing how a character tells something, and how others react while listening.  When trying to understand Shakespeare, it's import to know that Elizabethian audiences would have cared more about what they heard then what they saw.

In the 70s TV Miniseries Jesus of Nazareth, there are many things I don't like about it (mainly the White Washing) but also things I think it did well.  One of it's highlights was showing Jesus tell the parable of the Prodigal Son to a room full of people, it was a far better choice then cutting to a dramatization of it.

I enjoyed Suicide Squad, but yes it is a flawed movie.  One of it's highlights is El Diablo telling his backstory in the bar scene.  I feel that could have maybe been improved by not having any flashbacks, but just having him tell the story.

If a movie is ever made of Paul Feval's John Devil.  I do not want any "Flashbacks" or whatever you might call a Dramatization of the stories Henri Belcamp tells about his adventures in Australia and on St Helena.  One reason is because none of those stories are entirely true, and the audience of a movie tends to assume anything we see play out must have happened.

But also because I want to see Henri Belcamp be an Orator.  I want to show how he plays his audience and how they are suckered in by it.  Same thing if a movie was made out of The Vampire Countess, another Paul Feval novel translated into English by Brian Stableford.

So no, what I'm saying is we don't need to see everything, it sometimes works to just tell us.